‘Bharat Bandh’ evokes good response across Punjab, Haryana (Ld)


The 12-hour pan-India shutdown called in support of the farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws on Friday evoked a huge response across Punjab and Haryana as normal life was disrupted in these two states, though the situation was almost normal in Chandigarh.

Donning yellow ‘dupattas’ that represent the colour of martyrs, women protesters hogged the limelight at most places in Punjab’s Malwa region that has seen the highest rates of farmer suicides.

Traffic across Punjab and Haryana was badly hit as farmers, farm labourers, commission agents, trade unions and activists of political parties squatted on railway lines and national highways.

However, there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in these two states. Emergency medical services were exempted from the blockade.

The activists of several farmer associations were seen asking the traders at different places in the Congress-ruled Punjab and BJP-ruled Haryana to keep their shops and business establishments closed to mark the protest.

Reports of blocking of roads and highways were received from Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and other places in Punjab.

Sufficient security arrangements were made in both the states to prevent any untoward incident, a senior police officer said here.

The General Secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, said that the truck unions too extended their support to the farmers’ bodies.

Expressing solidarity with the farmers, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which has control over Sikh religious affairs and manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, kept its offices closed.

SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur said the Centre should repeal the three farm laws.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a coalition of farmers’ unions, said the shutdown was observed at 250 places in Punjab. A protest was also held at Attari, close to the Indo-Pak border.

The Indian Railways said that train services came to a halt at 32 locations, and four Shatabdi Express trains had to be cancelled.

Scores of passengers were stranded at the railway stations in Ambala and Karnal in Haryana as trains were stopped.

Jagdip Singh Aulakh of the BKU (Charuni) said the Karnal-Meerut, Karnal-Kaithal, Karnal-Yamunanagar and Karnal-Assandh roads were blocked in Haryana.